Friday, October 28, 2011

The apple harvest takes a bow

Yesterday, Volante Farms in Needham, Mass. was selling an astounding 28 varieties of apples, while they last. If you live in eastern Massachusetts, go there now.

For sale were the usual favorites like McIntosh and Empire and Red and Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp but also hard-to-find antiques like Northwest Greening, the delicate (and large) American Beauty, and the doughty Blue Pearmain.

I got a few of those, and also some tart Topaz and Creston, a variety that is new to me. I bought quite a few Suncrisp apples, which I discovered last year are really wonderful in December. This is probably my last big buy for the year, stocking up for the winter.

Were my refrigerator as big as my appetite, I would also certainly have bought some Enterprise (excellent excellent keepers) and a few deep red Hampshire and Thome Empire, all worthy members of the vinous McIntosh family.

Speaking of families, there was also cidery, spicy Jonathan, Jonagold, and Jonamac, all good apples but at this point I passed them by. I was also tempted by Baldwin, a noble heirloom with a very local history, Mutsu (huge, crisp, and light), and bright, refreshing Ida Red. No room for them though.

Did I mention there were a lot of apples? You could buy fresh local Fuji (compare that to the ones from Washington and New Zealand you find in supermarkets!), crisp Liberty, tart but complex Fortune, Spencer, stalwart Cortland, and wonderful old Northern Spy, sometimes called "Northern Pie" because it is such a great baking apple.

Speaking of that, Volante also had Rome and, for eating (or cider), Golden Russet. And of course lovely Macoun, spicy, floral, and vinous.

Volante curates a masterful assortment of apples from some wonderful orchards in Central Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

As of this writing, some of these are in short supply. Their last day is Halloween, so you still have time to get some of the beauties. But don't delay!


  1. Hi Adam, we will talk more later but I figured this snow was good downtime to post. Just picked the last AA grade black oxfords yesterday a friends orchard and now there's snow? There is still about a half acre or more of winter fruit to pick for cider. Normally we finish by early November....but I don't know what these "apple hats" of snow do to the hanging fruit. I picked some Northern Spy yesterday too and I don't think they have ever tasted this good...word to the wise to wait until Halloween if weather permits to pick the spys...most pick way too early. Anyways more later, ill email you too with my phone number...sometimes its easier than typing a novel!

  2. Hawk, seems like everyone picks too early. Hope your harvest has been bountiful. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  3. Hey Adam, I heard a couple got lost at Honeypot Farms in Stowe, VT and had to cal 911 for someone to come get them, as night was fast approaching and they were 3/4 mile from their car. Menace apple orchards!

  4. I guess you can get lost anywhere! How did people survive without cell phones?

    I hadn't heard this one, Kevin, and at first thought you were confusing Honeypot with a similar story about a family stuck in a 7-acre corn maze at an orchard in Danvers, Mass. earlier this month.

    The story got national attention. Not really apple related, though--unlike Honeypot, where I think you have identified a real apple threat. Can the Blair Apple horror film be far behind?

    By the way, Honeypot, it is in Stow, Mass., (map), not Stowe, Vermont--and not exactly the frontier.

    The owners are very nice people, by the way.

  5. I don;t know; Stow is still way out there past Concord from Boston- aren't there still indians out there?

    I guess that's one advantage about living here in the desert; you can still see your dog running off 20 miles away.


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